London, 29 Aug – On Friday, a shocking report was published about Iran’s activities in Syria, which was based on a report by the Mossad, Israel’s external intelligence service, and detailed the buildup of Iranian troops in Syria.
70,000 Shiite combatants have joined the Syrian army, forming a long-term existential threat to Israel, according to Israeli analyst Zvi Barel.
Further, the report said that Iran is using civilian airplanes from the Iranian companies Mahan Air and Iran Air to transfer military equipment and troops to Syria. The Iranian carriers are airlifting these reinforcements during the night to avoid satellite tracking, in violation of the nuclear deal that six world powers made with Iran in 2015.
It was reported that Mossad director Yossi Cohen, who headed an Israeli delegation to Washington, D.C. last week, provided the Trump administration and Congress with photographic evidence of these illicit Iranian airlifts. Cohen’s mission was part of a diplomatic offensive by the Israeli government.
Adam Kredo, an expert on the Iranian dossier in Washington, reported in the Washington Free Beacon on Friday that congressional leaders decided to take action after seeing the photographic evidence of the Iranian airlifts to Syria.
An integral part of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), the 2015 nuclear deal, is U.N. Security Resolution 2231, under which Iran is prohibited from using civilian aircraft for the transportation of troops and military equipment.
Congressional leaders allegedly sent a letter to the U.S. Treasury Department, which demanded that the Trump administration investigate the matter and impose new sanctions on Iran.
These sanctions might affect the sale of civilian aircraft to Iran by U.S. aircraft manufacturer Boeing, which has already received an order purchasing 80 civilian airplanes
The $16.6 billion deal, according to Reuters, “includes 50 narrow-body 737 MAX aircraft and 30 long-haul 777s, split equally between the 777-300ER, which is badly in need of an order boost, and the 406-seat 777-9, which is under development.”
Lawmakers are demanding a suspension of all licenses needed for the sale of the aircraft. Their letter to the Trump administration said, “Iran’s use of commercial aircraft for military purposes violates international agreements as well as Iranian commitments under the JCPOA.” They added, “We believe these photos mandate a thorough investigation of these practices and a comprehensive review of Iran’s illicit use of commercial aircraft.”
Noting that Iran Air “has engaged in the illicit transport of military goods and personnel to Syria since the implementation of the JCPOA,” the lawmakers demanded,“During this investigation, the United States should suspend current and future licenses for aircraft sales to Iran.”
The Treasury Department vowed to investigate all new evidence on Iran’s illegal use of commercial airplanes, and the lawmakers are urging the administration to make good on this promise. “In light of these assurances to both investigate evidence of Iranian wrongdoing and to re-designate Iranian airlines engaging in sanctionable activity, we strongly urge you to investigate the enclosed photos.” The congressmen wrote, further, “If as a result of your investigation, you find Iran Air guilty of conducting military transports with commercial aircraft, it should be re-designated.”
The photos were reportedly taken in 2016 and 2017. They show members of the IRGC and Shiite militia fighters aboard Iranian civilian aircraft on their way to Damascus in Syria. The congressmen emphasized the people displayed in the photos are not civilians. “These individuals are not Afghani civilians; they are believed to be members of an Iranian-backed militia, trained and funded by Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), actively fighting for the Assad regime in the Syria,” the lawmakers wrote, and added, that Iran Air is “facilitating the ongoing atrocities committed against the Syrian people by the Assad regime and its allies.”